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Research is valuable

Here’s a brief look at how to research and find your tribe.

“I had what I thought was a brilliant idea for a business — how to get free PR. Based on my years as a freelance journalist and business magazine editor I know that editors and journalists were screaming out for content so I went about setting up a business that would teach other businesses how to get free publicity. I assumed everyone would snap my hand off, be willing to pay for 1:1 support and I’d be raking it in — I couldn’t have been more wrong! The market had moved on, I didn’t understand my target market and had no clue what people were looking for. It lasted 6 months.”

This was me a few years ago. I have made so many mistakes, not just with that business idea but with others too.

As entrepreneurs, we often have more than one idea floating around in our cluttered brains. The impetus to hit the ground running with your new idea is so strong that you commit time and quite often money to getting it off the ground, then look back and wonder why it failed. (I have so many unused domain names it’s ridiculous!)

Every time I now have a new idea, even if it’s for my existing business I do nothing about it until I’ve undertaken research.

Research is so valuable. It provides you with fantastic insights and can be the groundwork for your idea. It can shape and influence your business model and give you a clear direction to take. Share on X

What if you’re an existing/established business?

When was the last time you ‘checked-in’ with your customer base? Are you making assumptions about your market? Industry changes so quickly, what worked or was relevant last year, month or even week may be outdated. What language is your audience using? Is your tone of voice still relevant? Perhaps more importantly, are the services you’re offering still what your target audience want or need?

This is particularly important when it’s your own business. And if you’re not winning your share of the market, do you know why? Where once your website may have been generating leads and enquiries, it could well have stopped, again — do you know why?

Using the research

You can easily create surveys in Google, Typeform, SurveyMonkey to name just a few, and once you have this information you can use it to shape lots of aspects of your business; sales copy, social media posts, your offering, free downloads.

Tips for creating a survey
  • Limit answer choices to 2 or 3
  • Always add ‘Other’ as an option
  • Keep it short
  • Use a universal tool that doesn’t require someone to register
  • DON’T incentivise, you want honest, genuine answers

When the last time you surveyed your audience?

Extract taken from my new book ‘Digital Marketing Made Easy’
Find out more here